Las Vegas is buzzing. After a week of tech advances at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, CES2015, drones have taken the lead in seducing not only an avid public, but also companies with serious interest in new appliances in a wide range of production sectors. This year the organization has designated a specific area for drones, due to the increase of developers who have found drone niches in diverse areas, from sporting events to agriculture to rescue missions.
The tech giant Intel has announced a set of improvements and startups designed to increase software performance and portable solutions for unmanned aircrafts. “The increase of new experiences in personal computers, smart and connected devices, and the revolution of visible technology is redefining the relationship between consumers and technology itself,” said Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich.
Some improvements have enabled drones to perceive depth; others will allow the device to build 3D images of its surroundings.
One of the most highlighted devices was the winner of the Intel Challenge “Make it Wearable” from 2014, a flying camera which can be attached to the wrist as a bracelet and deployed instantly to take pictures from the heights. One new feature is attracting extreme sports athletes: a wearable tracking device and “follow me” technology, allowing the drone to follow and record the user.
Among the drone innovators at CES, the startup EHang left the audience in awe when they presented their Ghost drone, which can be controlled via smartphone.
There is plenty of space for innovation and commercial opportunities for those eager to provide unique perspectives in unsuspected fields such as real state, journalism and filmmaking.
Andrew Amato, editor-in-chief of Dronelife, who was present at CES, expressed clearly his belief that drones would be present in daily life from now on. “People have been saying the drones are coming. But I think the fact that we have an unmanned systems area dedicated to them now means they’re not coming. They’re here”.
Some of the new features take advantage of 4K resolution cameras and image stabilizers, which sharpens action footage more than ever. All this combined with air visibility still worries federal regulators. In particular, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned about drones flying near commercial aircraft and therefore drone users require approval before flying.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association(CEA) , global revenue for drones will reach $130 million in 2015, twice last year’s value. Patrick Moorhead, the main tech analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy, estimated that there were twice as many drones as compared to previous events. He explained that the fascination with flying objects is due to our historical difficulty to control them, which makes drones awesome.
Military drones, tiny drones, selfie-taking drones, and drones that fly themselves were “arguably the most hyped products at CES,” said Ben Wood from CCS Insight. According to the interview at BBC, the trade group expects drones to be a billion-dollar market in a few years.
The future of drones shines with optimism, and will rocket even more once regulations catch up with tech advances. Once restrictions are lifted, only the sky will be the limit.
By Santiago Bustamante González